Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Pumping water out of waste
He has literally made waste fruitful. Kamlakar Sukhad Urhade, a tribal youth from Girgaon Bhujad Pada village in Talasari taluka has made a water pump out of discarded waste material. Urhade lost his father soon after he completed his education, and the responsibility of looking after his mother and two brothers fell on him.

Kamlakar Sukhad Urhade with his mother, outside their home. Pics/Shrikant Khuperkar
Kamlakar Sukhad Urhade with his mother, outside their home. Pics/Shrikant Khuperkar

The family’s 5-6 acres of land yields rice, but only during the rainy season. For the rest of the year, the family faced hard times. Water for the household is supplied by the gram panchayat, but at the same time the river flows some 70 feet from the house. Urhade decided that he would find a way of using the river water to irrigate the fields.

The pump being operated by Urhade
The pump being operated by Urhade

The idea came to him in 2008, but at that time he did not have the monetary resources. Urhade took a loan from Sanjivani Mahila Bachat and brought a motor, pipe and other items to make a pump, in 2009. But that did not work out because the electricity bill ended up being very high. Eventually his electricity connection was cut because he was not able to pay the bill.

Urhade in the field
Urhade in the field

Undaunted, Urhade decided to make a diesel pump after that, but this too did not work as the diesel price kept increasing. Finally, he hit upon the idea of making a pump that needed neither electricity nor diesel. Between 2010 and 2014, Urhade collected scrap, wooden sticks, old bicycle wheels, cardboard sheets, screws, etc.

He used this to make a water pump with a non-returnable valve, that worked automatically for 24 hours and helped to water his crops. Through a system of drip irrigation, the youth is now able to also grow vegetables such as white pumpkin and ridge gourd.

As Urhade had already taken an earlier loan, he could not borrow any more money, so his friends helped him bear the total cost of some R 25,000. The benefit is reaching others in the village, too. Since the water was being pumped 24x7, Urhade made a tank to store the water.

And the water that is stored in it is used to irrigate the neighbouring fields. Although Urhade is not sure how well the pump will withstand the coming monsoon’s currents, his simple device is providing relief to many in this small village in Palghar.

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